Weekend Update

Posted by: | March 22, 2008 | 14 Comments

Various and sundry news items:

  • At SFU, the defederation referendum passed. Over 66% of voters voted in favour of leaving the CFS. 4500 votes were cast. To student politics people, this kind of referendum is the Most Important Thing Ever. But it goes to show that, to students writ large, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Hmm.
  • The Globe and Mail contains an op-ed piece whose central idea is that the budget contains relatively good news for low-income students. The summary is that they’ve pretty much killed the Millennium Scholarship money, re-vamping low-income grants, and increasing and stabilizing funding levels. They’re not relying on loans or loan forgiveness; the money will come throughout the school year. This is very good. They’ve also promised a “review” of the student loan system; who knows what that means, but the system sure as heck needs a review. Regardless, the piece is worth a read.
  • The Vancouver Sun wrote that government funding for universities isn’t up to the levels promised in the funding letter. AvEd has decided to re-allocate funding, rather than just put it generally into universities. Anybody know what specific impact that had/will have at UBC?


14 Comments so far

  1. Titus on March 23, 2008 12:40 am

    The University of Victoria Graduate Students’ Society defederated by 57% as well. And the Cape Breton University Students’ Union (in Nova Scotia) defederated last week by 92%.

    The Kwantlen Student Association is holding its referendum on April 8 – 10, 2008.

  2. Anonymous on March 23, 2008 5:53 am

    Given that the voter turnout at SFU was 25% and their normal turnout is 5%, that shows that it was still considered a very important issue to SFU students.

  3. Tim Louman-Gardiner on March 23, 2008 8:47 am

    Titus: thanks for the updates. I wasn’t able to find those numbers anywhere.

    Anon: Yes, but compare that to, say, a U-Pass referendum. You’re right, in that the degree of student mobilization between last year’s impeachment and this year’s referenda has been nothing short of impressive, and you’re right to suggest that I didn’t give that enough credit. But I think it’s also important to recognize that it’s not earth-shaking to most students, too.

  4. Anonymous on March 23, 2008 8:36 pm

    Is UBC O deferederating and joining UBC V?

  5. Patrick on March 23, 2008 8:56 pm

    heh, Im thinking not a chance.

  6. Philip on March 23, 2008 9:24 pm

    Are the universities that are “defederating” going to join CASA or another national student organization?

  7. Blake on March 23, 2008 9:47 pm

    With regards to the Province’s funding cut – UBC will have a shortfall of $8.7 million (in addition to the $36+ million structural deficit) in their upcoming budget. I don’t think even UBC knows at this point what direct impact this is going to have, but you can probably imagine that it’s going to be substantial.

  8. Patrick on March 23, 2008 10:48 pm


    It is doubtful, but nothing is ever impossible.

    SFU wanted “to be left alone”, so in that regard, why jump on the bandwagon of another group? Even if that other group is significantly easier to leave.

    Kwantlen has been a member of CASA in the past, but that was ten years ago and todays KSA has a very different makeup than then.

    I have no knowledge of Cape Breton’s internal politics, so I couldnt even hazard a guess.

    Grad student unions (like at Uvic) tend to be fairly independently minded anyways, so I rather doubt they would go CASA. However it would be interesting to see the undergraduate local 44 of hte CFS, one of hte staunchest CFS strongholds in the province having to contend with the Grads on campus being members of the ‘hated enemy’ CASA.

  9. Jesse Ferreras on March 24, 2008 2:26 am

    I’m interested to know why people are so down on the Millennium Scholarship Fund. For as long as I’ve been in school it’s been around, and it’s helped out a lot of people to afford tuition. What exactly were the problems with it that caused people across the board (incl. Tories and NDPers) to want to scrap it?

  10. Anonymous on March 24, 2008 7:35 am

    In terms of CFS vs. UPass, SFU’s 2007 UPass referendum was 5600 and 2005’s was 4800 (see 2007 UPass Referendum Report at sfss.ca). So 4500 votes is very comparable, especially when it is on an issue that doesn’t compare in its obvious impact, like a universal transit pass.

  11. Anonymous on March 24, 2008 8:56 pm

    “Is UBCO defederating and joining UBCV?” – anon 1:36

    No. We’re not leaving the CFS anytime soon, considering that at least two of our student union board members and the GM of our student society were down in the Lower Mainland campaigning (according to the CFS “war plan”).

    This UBC-O student looks upon the vote results as “the Most Important Thing Ever” (thanks, Tim, for that line, it fits the situation quite well.) It reminds me of the phrase “rats leaving a sinking ship.”

    …and Patrick, don’t we live the same situation as UVic undergrads (staunch CFS) and grads (not CFS) with the UBCSUO (staunch CFS) and the AMS (not CFS).

  12. Stacy C on March 25, 2008 6:22 am

    I can confirm there has not been discussion of joining CASA at the UVIC Graduate Students’ Society.
    Continuing to work with graduate students in BC has been a priority in all discussion, however.
    UVic GSS worked with UNBC, UBC, and SFU grads during the campaign for a BC scholarship program.

  13. Alfie on March 25, 2008 11:01 pm

    That’s such a deep divide even within the student advocacy between UBC O and UBC V. How are the two campuses supposed to be integrated over the near future?

  14. Anonymous on March 26, 2008 4:32 pm

    Congrats to SFU and UVic! After spending 5 years watching the CFS do their worst in BC (and elsewhere), it is a GREAT DAY to see students reclaiming their student unions.

    It’s nice to see the CFS hacks sweat a little, they usually have the swagger that an engorged budget will give an organization. Maybe now they will take a look at their priorities…

    Here’s to hoping the de-federations roll on!

    Josh, UBC Grad Student

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